Perry Leads Republican Field in Virginia

Perry Leads Republican Field in Virginia

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - August 2, 2011

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has not yet announced a presidential bid, leads the Republican field in the key battleground state of Virginia by four points, a new poll released Tuesday shows.

The three-term governor garners 20 percent support from Virginia Republican primary voters while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney receives 16 percent, and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has 15 percent, according to a survey from Public Policy Polling (D). Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin comes in at 13 percent, businessman Herman Cain has 10 percent, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have 6 percent apiece. Former Govs. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Jon Huntsman of Utah round out the field with 2 percent and 1 percent, respectively.

However, the top of the ballot dynamic changes significantly if Palin chooses not to run. In her absence, Bachmann leads the GOP field with 21 percent support while Perry and Romney tie for second with 18 percent. Cain’s level of support remains the same.

Virginia will likely play an important role in deciding whether President Obama wins another term. He won the state by nearly six points in 2008, but since then, Virginia has elected a Republican governor and replaced three members of its congressional delegation with Republicans.

If, as expected, Perry throws his hat into the ring this month, he will likely compete with Bachmann for conservative voters. With Palin in the race, Perry leads Bachmann among the most conservative voters, 28 percent to 20 percent. Palin receives 15 percent support from this voting bloc. But with Palin out of the race, Bachmann takes a 27 percent to 24 percent edge over Perry. In both scenarios, Romney wins a plurality of moderates.

Palin and Perry have the highest net favorability rating in Virginia -- 33 percent and 26 percent, respectively -- compared to the other candidates. Cain comes in third with 24 percent. Romney receives a net favorability rating of 18 percent while Bachmann garners 12 percent. 

For this poll, PPP surveyed 400 Virginia Republican primary voters from July 21-24. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percent.

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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